Tracee Clapper

  Thoughts that come while lying on the ground

From a pine scented, 
needle-soft forest bed
a bald eagle’s whistle draws 
my eyes skyward, to paint-speckled clouds. 


In rainwet soil, we bury seeds to sprout
and plant bones for their last sleep.
The difference between life and death

is six inches or six feet.

Things that make me feel better

A palm on my forehead
stroking brow to crown,
my hands cupped around
a hot mug of honey-kissed tea,
the suffused glow that is light
and dark just after a storm
before a rainbow;

the ocean lapping 
at my shoulders while I rock
in her salted healing, a swing’s
skip-jump-drop matching
my stomach as I pump past
Orion's Belt, my cat stretched
sleepily from my sternum to my lap;

joy that dawns on strangers’ 
faces as their eyes are pointed
to a wood stork flying overhead or
an owl perched at eye level, 
off a dirt path;

the leftover scent of a campfire 
on last night’s sweater 

and the surprise song of a wood thrush.
Parts of her are scared to death of endings, still

Cracked apart like ribs of romaine
lettuce ripped open by a Finochietto
retractor, the center of her broken chest
throbs with Kinkadian light, highlighting shadows
on the edge of a past she hasn’t left behind.

Thick braids, a boundary blocking
night terrors that choke and bully
her into daytime nightmares of people
leaving her, fading down narrowing
hallways that throw echoes of goodbyes

into every new hello.

The tension was elastic, I bit my tongue so hard it’s sore

Nail-bitten sighs slip
from the shaky faucet
of my clenched lungs

a man’s voice, one I know,
cracks from the back seat 
whispers carry in the music-less 

car as I chauffeur 
this couple who remind me
of myself or my parents in years past

my mind creates scenarios
far more dire than reality
as these two young people

resolve their small misunderstanding
while I reel in child-like terror

for everyone to get divorced
or break up 

with me.


Tracee Clapper lives with her family in Charleston, SC. She spends time in and draws inspiration from nature. She’s been published in The Blue Nib, Poppy Road Review, Spillwords, and has an upcoming piece in Young Ravens Literary Review. She writes to heal her soul and those of anyone else within whom her work resonates.


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